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West Coast Port Congestion Diverts Vessels to Gulf and East Coast Destinations


According to the September 5th edition of the USAPEEC MondayLine, ports along the Gulf and East Coast, including Savannah, Charleston and Houston, are gaining volume at the expense of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.


According to the American Journal of Transportation, East Coast port volume was up nine percent during the first half of 2022 compared to the corresponding period in 2021, Houston was up 22 percent and West Coast ports were lower by 0.1 percent.


It is evident that incremental import volume during the first half of 2022 represented an increase in traffic, given the almost constant volume to major West Coast ports. Increased channel depth, installations to handle containers, cold storage facilities and improved road and rail access at the ports of Houston, Charleston and Savannah have contributed to the increase in contrast to New Orleans, which has not benefitted from diversion from the West Coast.  An added advantage for Gulf and East Coast ports has been the widening of the Panama Canal to accommodate very large container vessels making these ports more attractive to ocean freight operators.